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WHAT TO DO WITH A BOX by Jane Yolen Kirkus Star


by Jane Yolen ; illustrated by Chris Sheban

Pub Date: March 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-56846-289-9
Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

An ode to cardboard, four sides, and flaps both honors and alerts children to the pleasures it houses.

Jolly rhymes sing praise, perhaps prompting readers to look near their recycling bins for a fresh box. What else can be “a library, / palace, / or nook”? Add some dolls, and you've got a tea party. Paint a backdrop, and you're basking at the beach or sitting by a forest stream. Put simply, "A box! A box / is a wonder / indeed. / The only / such magic / that you'll / ever need." The succinct, straightforward simplicity of Yolen's singsong-y verse suits its subject: the everyday, plain-old, big-brown box. Sheban's inviting artwork, painted and drawn atop real corrugated and flat cardboard, makes clear the magic that happens when introducing imagination to an ordinary packing box. Warmth, depth, expanse, and humor all reside in his paintings, which show a red-haired white boy and dark-haired, slightly darker-skinned girl playing inside a box, their own illustrations and creativity at work. Sheban imbues the cardboard-box brown that covers and constitutes so much of these pictures with a honeyed amber that almost glows, especially alongside strokes of white acrylic paint that highlight each spread.

Intuitive, inspired executions of art and verse perfectly capture the unending fun of time spent inside a box.

(Picture book. 3-8)